Rapid response teams formed in Odisha against witch hunting


Baripada: May 11: Alarmed at the rising incidents of attack on people on suspicion of practicing black magic, District Administration in Odisha’s tribal dominated Mayurbhanj district has formed rapid response teams to check incidents of witch hunting.

The teams have been formed at district, block and gram panchayat level to check the menace, said officials.

Mayurbhanj district Collector Rajesh Pravakar Patil said while addressing a workshop on witch hunting here that 47 killings of widows, deserted and unmarried tribal women have been reported from different parts of the district in the past five years.

Mostly the Santhals and Kolhos of the tribal community under the influence of the sorcerer are involved in committing such heinous crimes out of illiteracy and poverty and targeting their own relatives and family members, he said.

Awareness measures were also being taken up with the help of Nehru Yuvak Kendra, NSS volunteers of North Orissa University and local youth clubs, the Collector said.

After the action was initiated, 29 vulnerable women were rescued and given shelter at correction homes, he said.

Citing a recent case of witch hunting, he said that a tribal woman was forcibly undressed, tied to a pole and was also raped in a village under Rairangpur rural police station area who was later rescued, the collector said.

Regular street plays were being held in rural weekly haats and leaflets being distributed to create awareness on witch hunting episodes, he further said.

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